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Corpses piled up in the Ghana morgue because the family refused the smaller Covid era burial

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It is not uncommon, in some parts of Ghana, for burial ceremonies to last up to seven days, drawing thousands of crowds adorned in flowing red and black robes.

“We are running out of space,” the director of the hospital, Dr. Frank Baning, told CNN at a facility based in the northern part of the Greater Accra region of Ghana.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has stopped large-scale public gatherings, relatives have chosen to keep the bodies of their loved ones in the morgue for longer than usual until they can hold a proper burial.

“It’s been difficult because there aren’t many other mortuaries around to hold corpses,” Baning said.

‘Only if we are forced’

Ghana burials usually last several days and up to a week in some parts. They are a symbolic ceremony involving thousands of mourners to celebrate the life of the deceased.

So it was a bitter pill to swallow for many, when the country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, imposed a ban on large gatherings.

He offered an alternative: do a private funeral with no more than 25 guests.

Ghana currently has more than 6,486 cases of corona virus and 31 deaths have been confirmed, according to the latest figures from the health ministry. Earlier this month, Akufo-Addo extended the restrictions on public meetings until May 31.
Some families have take this route, but in general, many brothers choose to wait until the ban is lifted to bury their loved ones.

Chris Awuyah, a Ghanaian professor based in the United States, lost his uncle in Ghana due to natural causes in February.

“More than 2,000 people are expected to be present at his funeral,” he told CNN. All that changed when government restrictions prevented funerals from happening according to plan.

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“Most of the funerals are about uniting families. That is important to us,” said Awuyah, whose 87-year-old uncle, Jonas Awuyah, is considered the head of the family.

“We hope we can hold the right burial for him.”

He acknowledged that his family had not yet reached a definitive conclusion about whether to bury his uncle personally or postpone the burial to a later date. But he hinted that he was willing to wait as long as possible until the right burial could be planned.

“The only way we will survive [the funeral] personally is if our hands are tied and we are forced. We are afraid we must make this decision. “

Risk for health workers

Meanwhile, in Pantang, some have expressed concern that the number of corpses in their morgue has created congestion, which poses health risks to workers serving on the front lines.

Thomas Awuku has been working in the Abstinence Hall for 27 years. According to the World Health Organization, there is a risk for those who handle corpses “if the person who died is infected [a] very contagious disease. “

Awuku told CNN that the hospital had taken all the right measurements to ensure the safety of its workers “and would take care of the body we already have as a tribute to the family.”

In Ghana, what you do determines you in life ... and death
Despite the abundance of corpses, hospitals are reluctant to use mass funerals because of this WHO warned that this can have devastating psychological effects and “” traumatizes families and communities. ”

This is part of the reason why the Abstinence Hospital works with families to store corpses for as long as possible, Awuku said.

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The Ghana Health Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment and the country’s health minister declined to comment when contacted by CNN.

Big toll

At Gillman and the Abbey Funeral Service located in Accra, they also saw an increase in the number of corpses stored in their morgue.

Storing bodies there is subject to a daily rate, but fewer families arrange to have the bodies moved.

Administrator Lawrence Apaloo said the pandemic was “truly negative for business.”

“Of course, the longer the body is here, the higher the bill,” he said. “But it is unpredictable to know when the family will come to take the body.”

Other services provided by Gillman and Abbey, such as pall pads, hearse rental, casket sales and site decoration, have stopped completely, he said.

“Everyone is arrested and no one knows when everything will return to normal. This has taken a big toll.”

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Who is Zambrius, the Portuguese hacker who gained access to important government structures?

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Who is Zambrius, the Portuguese hacker who gained access to important government structures?

He entered the system that controls Brazilian elections and was sentenced to six years in 2020 for hacking Benfica and Altis. Portuguese State

“There is always something going on in the suburbs of the Internet,” says the hacker, who at 19 had already hacked into several of the largest companies and public infrastructures in Portugal and Brazil.

Together with a group of hackers led by him Cyberteam, Tomás Pedroso, known in the internet world as Zambrius, gained access to Benfica’s computer systems, obtained some of Altis’s most sensitive data, as well as the network supporting the Brazilian electoral system and the three branches electoral system. General Staff of the Armed Forces. Now, at the age of 21, while awaiting the outcome of an appeal he filed against the six-year prison term to which he was sentenced, the hacker revealed that he gained access to the Garcia de Orta Hospital (at least 16 days before the program ransomware attack), ARS Centro Patient Transport Service, a platform that manages SNS financial resources, and an application that stores national exam data.

READ TOO
Hackers Hack Critical Government Services: Armed Forces, Healthcare and Education Are Vulnerable

However, this young man’s journey into the most hidden corners of the Internet began many years ago. At just 16 years old, he dominated the computer world to such an extent that he had already managed to gain access to some platforms of the highest state structures, such as the Judicial Police or the Prosecutor General’s Office, along with other members of CyberTeam. Eventually, he was caught and detained by the authorities and placed in an educational center for two years.

Attack on the Brazilian elections

Together with other hackers, the young man, who the criminal indictment says will have communication difficulties and attention deficits, took advantage of being under house arrest from May to November to access the Oracle network that was managing the data of the Supreme Electoral Court of Justice of Brazil (TSE) during the first round of municipal elections. In a report by CNN Portugal, the hacker admitted to gaining access to the network, but denied accusations of manipulating information that led to electoral changes.

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“I did not manipulate any information despite having access to computers and databases from Oracle, a multinational corporation in charge of processing the election results,” he wrote to CNN Portugal.

He was arrested by the Judicial Police in November 2020 in a joint operation with the Brazilian authorities that identified and detained three youths “for the ongoing crime of unauthorized access, computer damage and computer sabotage.”

Since then, the Zambrius name has become known for hundreds of DDOS attacks that flood servers and render them inoperable, website corruption that corrupts web pages, and SQL injections where it exploits website vulnerabilities to issue commands.

Tomas Pedroso is currently at large, pending an appeal from a six-year prison sentence with a twice-weekly obligation to appear and a travel ban. He was charged with 28 crimes of aggravated access, misuse of data and damage to computers.

Attack on Benfica and Altis

The court, which now found him guilty of computer crimes, charged the hacker with breaking into the website of telecom operator MEO Altice. The State Department believes that Thomas was able to access the company’s databases and “filter data, including names and addresses, customers contained in sales tables, and employees of the sales department.” In total, Zambrius had access to over 123,325 company data, including name, address, mobile phone number, and the companies they work for.

Another abusive access by a young Portuguese occurred in March 2020 when he managed to log into the MyBenfica portal, which was used as a back office for the Fundação Benfica website, which was used by the site administrators to manage and present content. The hacker then provided the credentials of 114 club employees.

Hacktivism or cybercrime

The Defense Ministry’s criminal case file describes the hacker’s actions as “illegal acts of a cybernetic nature,” which the young man calls hacktivism, “as a form of political protest achieved through cybernetic intrusion and incitement to civil disobedience.” “. Thus, along with “unidentified persons”, the young man explored various public and private systems, “scaling privileges and causing database configuration changes associated with the respective sites or other functions.”

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This was the case in the case of the attack on Jornal da Madeira, when Zambrius caused a change in the image of the newspaper’s website, inserting an image of a man with a covered face, in a hood and working at a computer, accompanied by a message against politician Andre Ventura, president of Chega!: “Cyberteam hacked (… ) Cyberteam was here!#antiventura Andre Ventura who f…! A system that e…! Ps: I ran out of patience to write cute text with fancy words!”

CyberTeam also did not pass by the Portuguese Association of Football Referees (APAF). The hacker successfully altered the image of the website, which now featured a photo of Rui Pinto, with a message in which the group questioned an investigation by the Portuguese authorities that did not take into account information posted on the Football Leaks website. “What is Portugal doing to fight corruption in football?” the group wrote.

Prosecutors say that when the young man successfully attacked the target, he proceeded to copy and “extract the information contained in the databases”, eventually claiming responsibility for the social media attacks.

cyberteam

In the history of attacks carried out by CyberTeam, there are hundreds of large-scale intrusions, including EDP. On April 13, 2020, a Portuguese electricity company was the target of a cyberattack that severely affected customer service systems. The announcement came the next day via Twitter, where the pirates threatened to attack Altice and carry out a large-scale attack on April 25 of that year.

At the time, they stated in a Facebook post that around 80% of Portuguese websites could be changed by the group. The hacker collective also claimed to have “access to several important systems in the private and public sector, including some courts, clubs, private companies” and added that “if necessary” they would hack into the television network.

CNN Portugal, a young man assures that the group of computer pirates he helped found is inactive.

Return

All you need is a smartphone and with time and patience you can find vulnerabilities and exploit them. This is what happened to the shortcomings that he discovered in April of this year when he tweeted a series of appeals to various critical platforms of the Portuguese state, including the García de Orta hospital page, the ARS Centro patient transport platform and the National Examination Jury.

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In a written response to CNN Portugal, which asked him about the motives for what justice has already deemed crimes, the hacker says that these attacks serve “only to notify” the authorities of the weaknesses that exist in the networks, claiming that they are willing to share with the network administrator the vulnerabilities of these systems. The hacker justifies the focus on health care, education, and defense by saying that they serve to demonstrate that these areas, “which hackers usually seek out for profit,” are not safe.

When asked if he is ready to work with the authorities to find and correct flaws in the most important systems of the Portuguese state, Thomas Pedroso answers with the question: “Why not?”.

Another target of the hacker was dozens of servers of the three directorates of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMGFA). Two years after he was able to infiltrate these platforms and be convicted for it, the hacker claims he was able to access the same servers again through the same vulnerabilities that were discovered in the past. CNN Portugal, an official source from the EMGFA, told CNN Portugal that the 2020 vulnerabilities “have been analyzed and actions deemed appropriate have been taken.”

“There are many types of attacks on servers. An attacker can steal information from users and use it for sale or own use, such as accessing ATMs or even bank accounts, can use phishing scams, inject ransomware to obtain ransom, use the victim’s server for future attacks, or mine bitcoins, the attacker locks onto the target as if it were the owner; In short, the attacker can completely manipulate the network and do whatever they want with it,” explains the hacker.

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BdP balance is already similar to Portugal’s GDP – Markets

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BdP balance is already similar to Portugal's GDP - Markets

The balance sheet of Banco de Portugal is already equal to the economy of Portugal. The central bank closed last year with assets of 219 billion euros, the highest ever, about 27 billion euros higher than in 2020, largely due to debt purchased under mega-monetary stimulus programs.

“The balance sheet is 219 billion euros, which corresponds to the size of Portugal’s GDP,” said the Governor of Banco de Portugal, Mario Centeno, in the presentation of the Board of Directors’ report for 2021. “We had an increase in balance sheet. sheet is explained by the increase in monetary policy and deposits of credit institutions.

The EUR 27 billion increase in monetary policy assets was driven by a EUR 17.1 billion increase in the monetary policy portfolio as a result of securities purchases under the new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program ( PEPP) and Public Sector Asset Purchase Program (PSPP) bonds. In addition, refinancing operations increased by 9.6 billion euros. At the end of 2021, lenders’ deposits at the Bank of Portugal reflected an increase of €26.9 million year-over-year “as a result of a significant injection of liquidity as a result of the aforementioned monetary policy measures.”


In 2021, the evolution of Banco de Portugal’s financial statements continued to be influenced by the response to the expansion of the pandemic crisis, as explained in the paper by the central bank led by Mario Centeno.

“Gold has also had a positive impact on the size of the bank’s balance sheet, and these are the main trends,” Centeno emphasized for the precious metal, which increased by 4.3% (equivalent to 808 million euros) for a total of $19.8 billion. Euro. Banco de Portugal has also reorganized its management assets as a result of “taking advantage of the opportunities for profit” offered by the market.

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(News in update)

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Santander Foundation Offers Scholarships for Portuguese Language Courses for Ukrainian Refugees

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Santander Foundation Offers Scholarships for Portuguese Language Courses for Ukrainian Refugees

Citizens of Ukraine fleeing the war who wish to learn Portuguese can apply for a scholarship from the Santander Foundation, which will offer 12-week online courses run by the Open University.

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